"My Life Has Been Just Like a Big Expectation" A Retrospective Reflection of Role Expectations and Mental Health Concerns of Adult Children of Seventh-day Adventist Pastors

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Rene Drumm
David Sedlacek
Alina Baltazar


Congregational social work; pastors' kids, clergy children, mental health, emotional health, social role expectations


This study examines the family and social expectations of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) clergy children, their mental and emotional health concerns, and the relationship between expectations and emotional health. The study used data triangulation from an online survey (N=120) and four focus groups to answer the research questions. The greatest source of concern came from clergy children’s perceptions about was how the people in their parent’s congregation thought they should behave. In addition, results show that the majority of the respondents expressed some level of concern about anxiety/depression or their emotional health. The findings reveal a statistically significant relationship between the expectations that clergy children recalled and the mental and emotional concerns they experienced. Clergy children expected to attend more church services, reported more concerns about their mental and emotional health. These findings provide a call to action for Christian social workers, particularly those engaged in congregational social work.

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